The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammed, has called on judicial officers to ensure sustainance of confidence reposed in the judiciary by the public.
The CJN made the call last week in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the virtual workshop for Legal and Research Assistants organized by the National Judicial Institute (NJI).
Justice Tanko while urging the Legal and Research Assistants officers to adopt global best practices to improve the quality of their work also noted that the workshop seeks to provide a multi- faceted programme aimed at exposing participants to the practical aspects of their supportive role to judicial officers.
He said: “Over the years, the workshop has empowered Legal and Research Assistants with the relevant skills required for the challenges and demands of their office, thereby aiding judicial officers in the arduous task of adjudication.
“The theme of this Workshop, ‘Research as a Tool for Effective Justice Dispensation’, is relevant and critical to the performance of judicial officers at optimum level, as your category of judicial staff is an important segment in justice delivery. “Distinguished participants, it is imperative to note that the responsibility of a judicial officer among other things, is to sustain public confidence reposed in the judiciary by dispensing justice according to the provisions of the law and without fear or favour.
As Legal and Research Assistants, who assist judicial officers in carrying out their research work, you must have a proper grasp of the law and adopt global best practices to improve the quality of your work.
“Consequently, I must emphasize here that your work involves a mix of legal research and writing that may include gathering materials on admissibility of evidence, drafting legal documents and examining legal history and precedents to aid you in your research work.
“In addition, you are expected to carry out legal research depending on the stage of a project or a case on how the present law operates in practice considering how it should be reformed, as well as helping to run large scale open public consultations or recommendations to a judicial officer for expeditious adjudication of cases.
“Therefore, for you to discharge your duties effectively, you must possess qualities such as diligence, perseverance, transparency, confidentiality, professionalism and punctuality to work. Let me also state that the relationship between Legal and Research Assistants and judicial officers who you work for must be cordial and professional. You must display rock solid integrity and be committed to work while avoiding corruption.
These yardsticks are not only imperative for the image of the judicial officers but also for the image of the Legal and Research Assistants and the Nigerian judiciary as a whole”.
Earlier in his own speech, the Administrator of the National Judicial Institute (NJI), Justice Salisu Garba, noted that the workshop is aimed at stimulating participants thoughts and to strategize on research methodology for enhanced productivity in the judiciary, in view of the pivotal role that Legal and Research Assistants play in the day-to-day administration of justice in our courts.
“This workshop, themed: ‘Research as a Tool for Effective Justice Dispensation’ is proof of the importance which the judiciary attaches to the role of Legal Assistants in the process of justice delivery.
It is also our expectation that the deliberations at this year’s workshop which are tailored along the theme, will invariably provide the opportunity to interact and exchange ideas that will help improve research methodologies and its outcomes.
“I daresay that your position as Legal Assistants is the excellent foundation for a career in the judiciary. This is because it affords you the opportunity to broaden your knowledge, which is a vital tool for success in any part of the legal profession and judicial service.
The need for a judicial officer to be armed with the most current cases or principles of law throws up challenges that require skills.
To this end, this workshop will help in no small measure to deepen your experience and improve your skills. “My lords, ladies and gentlemen, there is truism to the legal parlance that: research is to a judge what diagnosis is to a physician; hence, the more meticulous your research is the better and more impactful it is to effective justice dispensation.”